AMPARO is an ally of QAI and we recognise the critical need for the work that AMPARO undertakes to support vulnerable people with disability from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD). Without their assistance most people would be unsupported and their lives and welfare would be greatly jeopardised. AMPARO has undertaken significant work to support people with disability from CALD communities to access and engage in the NDIS process. Please see the links below for further information.
Key Recommendations for the New Disability Services Act (‘The Act’)
- The Act should include a preface that places strong emphasis on the shared responsibility across agencies and the community to uphold the rights of people with a disability.
- The Act should require government departments and statutory bodies to align with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and uphold the rights of people with disability, for example, in developing disability inclusion action plans with measureable goals, KPIs and outcomes.
- Rather than state only high-level principles, the Act should set out guidelines and procedures that activate established principles.
- The Act must identify clearly the role and relationship between the state government particularly the Department of Communities and Disability Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency (‘NDIA’).
- The Act should promote a strong person-centred approach, such as that found in the Victorian Disability Services Act 2006; set out the responsibilities of departments and agencies to provide person-centred services; and, embed the rights of people with disability to have access to services and to be involved in service planning.
- The Act should set out best practice consultation and/or, co-design with people with disability.
- The Act should outline a mechanism to ensure accessible procurement by government agencies.
- The Act must stipulate ongoing data collection and analysis by all agencies with responsibilities under the Act.
- The Act should require that it first should be reviewed after three years, then every five years thereafter. Reports of these reviews should be tabled in State Parliament.
- The Act should appoint a Disability Commissioner, with key powers and responsibilities set out below at #10.
- The Disability Commissioner will adopt the disability-relevant functions and powers of the Public Advocate as set out in the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld), but with broader scope to promote and defend the rights of people with disability, particularly those who do not have NDIS Plans.
- The Act should include provision for people with cognitive impairment, providing recognition of their specific rights and needs, as does section 6 of Victoria’s Disability Act 2006.
- The Act should mandate ‘no card no start’, except where people with disability are selfmanaging their supports and services. In that instance, sole traders and unregistered providers should be able to work while awaiting screening, but only if safeguards are implemented, including risk management plans and supervision by a screened NDIS worker.
- The roles and responsibilities of the Disability Advisory Councils should be reviewed and invigorated. The Act should outline the function, terms of recruitment, membership and the terms of review of the Councils OR
- The Disability Advisory Councils should be convened by and linked to an agency with expanded authority, such as the Disability Commissioner, as outlined below.
- The Act should establish a right to advocacy support and the state government should continue to fund it.
Click here to read the full submission
- Lessors must provide a statutorily mandated reason to end a tenancy.
- Prohibit the use of ‘end of fixed term’ notices to leave except for statutorily mandated reasons.
- Prohibit false, misleading or deceptive representations by lessors or agents.
- Stipulate pre-contractual disclosure of;
– plans to sell
- Limit bond maximum to four weeks’ rent.
- Limit rent increases to no more than one per year.
- Pets less unwelcome in rental properties.
- No additional bond should be required or permitted, should the tenant keep a pet.
- Extend the jurisdiction of the Housing Appeals and Review Unit (HARU) to include community housing tenants.
- Social and affordable housing providers should be required to give their tenants grounds for all evictions.
- Extend the administrative appeals process to community housing tenants.
- Termination clauses inserted into RTRAA in 2013 that target social and affordable housing tenants are onerous and unnecessary and should be removed.
- Remove the provisions that separate the termination provisions for social housing tenants from those in the private rental market and extend responsibilities for social housing tenants. In particular, remove section 290A which unreasonably extends responsibilities to social housing tenants and reverses the onus.
- Remove the anti-social behaviour agreements (at s 527D) from the legislation. They are a form of indirect discrimination, in effect, if not in law, against tenants whose behaviour is a result of their disability.
- Where a tenant has since rectified arrears in full, a Warrant of Possession issued for rent arrears should be withdrawn.
- Remove provisions for immediate eviction and self-eviction in rooming house premises.
- A disputed rooming house eviction must be settled by the Tribunal.
- Extend the grounds for a tenant to end a tenancy agreement early.
- Tenants should be able to end a fixed term agreement with the prescribed notice of two weeks’ if the premises are put on the market or entry is made to show prospective purchasers during a fixed term agreement.
- Tenancy agreements should not be able to unreasonably limit the number of people who can occupy premises.
- The assumption in tenancy agreements should be that renters are able to keep pets as long as they are not in breach of any law or by-law.
The Guardian online recently reported that in the UK, buses and taxis will lead a self-driving public transport push.1 All very high-tech but not a word on how people will hail, alight or access these buses and taxis. Direct assistance at boarding / alighting will not be possible unless the units are crewed with a customer service operator — which begs the question of making them driverless.
Regrettably, these innovations are streaking ahead of the legal framework that requires their accessibility. Innovation brings wonderful benefits to people with and without disabilities alike, but at times the innovators appear to have no clue about accessibility. If there is no regulatory framework the innovators all too often come up with exclusionary designs, and then at great expense have to retrofit those designs for access.
QAI’s primary concern about the DSAPT (‘the Standards’) is that they do not require transport providers to include people with disability in the planning and design process from the beginning. Part of the reason for this lies in the essentially voluntary participation in and compliance with the Standards. There are few repercussions for transport providers that do not comply.
QAI Media release
Ministerial backflip on pension is a lifesaver for people with disability.
The Australian Federation of Disability Organizations (AFDO), the Disability Advocacy Network of Australia (DANA) and QAI went to Canberra last week to convince federal politicians to oppose the 2019 budget measure. Their work, with support from many others, has saved lives. Department of Social Services Minister Fletcher has reversed the policy measure in response. Essential income support to people with disabilities who exit prison will be available to them still.
Prisoners with disabilities who exit jail ordinarily move straight back onto the Disability Support Pension (DSP) if they serve less than two years in prison, but the Federal Government planned to change that by reducing the suspension time to 13 weeks. DSS would have implemented the budget measure from 1 January 2019.
People with intellectual disability are imprisoned at about five times the rate of the general population in Australia and their socioeconomic circumstances after release from prison are more indicative of re-offending than the prison term itself.1 Making people reapply for the DSP is the same as taking income support away, and the consequences are devastating.
Research tells us that the first six weeks out of prison are the hardest: a place to live, food, and finding work depend on getting income support. The suicide rate of released prisoners spikes around six weeks. Access to an income, and the related ability to obtain appropriate housing and necessities has a direct impact on whether a person re-offender, breaches parole or self-harms.
The Queensland Government asked the Queensland Productivity Commission to determine how government resources and policies may be best used to reduce imprisonment and recidivism to improve outcomes for the community.
QAI had a lot to say about this, having published editions of Disabled Justice in 2007 and 2014. Ten percent of prisoners in this state have intellectual disability. That’s five times the rate of the general population. Up to 30% of prisoners have some form of disability. Recidivism of Queensland prisoners who have intellectual disabilities is twice that of other prisoners: general recidivism is 38%, but 68% of prisoners with intellectual disability return to jail.
Protecting Queenslanders: QAI submission is critical of Queensland bill that would give the Premier power to make decisions on monitoring of people with disability convicted of sexual offences
The QAI submission to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee Inquiry into the Bill 2018 (‘the Bill’) opposes the Bill in general, and is critical of a number of provisions in the Bill proposed by Mr David Janetzki MP, the Member for Toowoomba South. In particular, QAI opposes the provision that would give the Premier power to make decisions on monitoring of people with disability convicted of sexual offences.
QAI told the Committee that the Bill:
.. [p]otentially departs from fundamental legislative principles because it mandates administrative rather than judicial power to review indeterminate supervision, undermining the separation of powers and the necessary checks and balances critical to the effective operation of our Westminster-based political system.
QAI’s Dr Nick Collyer appeared at the Committee’s public hearing, stating in his evidence to the Committee that:
For the vast majority of victims of sexual abuse, it is not about the stranger hiding in the dark alleyway or the paedophile in the playground. Most sexual assaults and rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Among victims aged 18 to 19, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the offender. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men—90 per cent—and by persons known to the child—70 to 90 per cent—with family members constituting one-third to one-half of the perpetrators against girls and 10 to 20 per cent of the perpetrators against boys. According to one study, one in six Australian women were physically or sexually abused by the age of 15, one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and on average one Australian woman is murdered per week by her current or her former partner.
Full Hansard transcript
QAI’s Dr Collyer on Parliament TV
The Committee’s reporting due date is Tuesday, 19 March 2019.